Habitat Fragmentation Impacts Arthropod Species
This activity guides the analysis of a published scientific figure from a study that explored habitat fragmentation and corridors in a model ecosystem.
Human activities are breaking many wild habitats into smaller, more isolated fragments. Connecting these fragments to other habitats using corridors may help more species survive. In this study, scientists created fragments and corridors in patches of moss, which are habitats for tiny arthropods called mites. The figure shows the number of mite species found in different moss fragments, which varied in their connectivity to a larger moss patch (M). Some fragments had no corridors (I), some had uninterrupted corridors (C), and some had broken corridors (B).
The “Educator Materials” document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes a captioned figure and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Explain how habitat fragmentation and corridors can impact species richness.
bar graph, connectivity, fragment, error bar, island biogeography, local extinction, patch, rescue effect, species richness, wildlife corridor
Gonzalez, Andrew, and Enrique J. Chaneton. “Heterotroph species extinction, abundance and biomass dynamics in an experimentally fragmented microecosystem.” Journal of Animal Ecology 71, 4 (2002): 594–602. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2656.2002.00625.x.
HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
SYI-2.B, SP1, SP4
Topic(s): 2.3, 9.10
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.D, EIN-4.C; SP3, SP5